Hillside Select is a wine of a place, produced each vintage from carefully selected blocks of the hillside vineyards surrounding the winery. These grapes are small and deeply colored, with concentrated flavors enhanced by meticulous winemaking and extensive aging in French oak barrels. Hillside Select consistently expresses the voluptuous fruit, rich flavors and velvety texture that characterize grapes grown in Stags Leap District.
After three years in barrel and another year in bottle, this Hillside Select offers youthful vibrancy along with the promise of the riches of age. Both in the nose and in the mouth it’s brimming with mulberry and bramble fruit as well as tantalizing layers of chocolate, black truffle, tobacco, herbs, nutmeg, cinnamon and a slate-like minerality, that brings the 2008 Hillside Select to mind. The brightness of the vintage’s acidity follows all the way through to the long, lifted finish. —Elias Fernandez
Vineyard Location: 100% Shafer’s Hillside Estate Vineyards in Stags Leap District including the vineyard blocks Sunspot, John’s Folly, Venado Ilegal and Firebreak
2011 Growing Season:
The cool weather in spring continued into the sunny, mild summer, holding fruit development to a slow, even pace. With extra work in the vineyard, pruning away all less than ideal fruit, we enjoyed a harvest of beautiful clusters loaded with elegant, enticing flavor.
Cooperage: 32 months in 100% new 60-gallon French oak barrels (Allier and Tronçais)
Food Affinities: Grilled or roast lamb, duck, beef and game; dishes featuring roasted red peppers or carmelized onions; seasonings of basil, mint or rosemary; aged, full-flavor cheeses
** Only 2 in Stock **
Possibly the Cabernet Sauvignon of the vintage is Shafer’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. Last year I thought it was a strong effort, but it’s even better now that it’s been bottled. With an opaque black/purple color and notes of subtle burning charcoal embers, blueberry, blackberry and graphite, the wine has a certain Bordelais minerality, but then the richness of Napa kicks in. It’s full-bodied (somewhat unusual for a 2011) with lighter tannins, and no doubt the wine will be on a faster evolutionary track than vintages such as 2010, 2012 and 2013. Nevertheless, the Shafers and Elias said this was the toughest vintage they’d ever experienced. To be able to produce a compelling wine like this is a testament to their extraordinary skills and craftsmanship. This wine can be drunk now or cellared for another 15-20 years. - Robert Parker 96 Points
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is gorgeous. Shafer fans will delight in a super-expressive, nuanced wine that won't require cellaring to offer its finest drinking. Blue and black fruit, flowers, spices and exotic hint of orange zest all add complexity on the expressive finish. Naturally the 2011 doesn't offer the typical Hillside Select opulence and power, but in exchange it will drink well pretty much right out of the gate. - Antonio Galloni 94 Points